Stakeholder Consultation on Identification of Potential Supply Chains in Textiles and Clothing Sector in South Asia, Queen’s Court

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) in collaboration with the UNCTAD India, the Centre for WTO Studies, India, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, UK, organised a Stakeholder Consultation on production fragmentation in the textile and clothing sector in South Asia. The Consultation took place at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo on the 4th of May 2010.

In the context of the impacts of the global economic crisis on economic growth and trade, there is a pressing need for the region to enhance its competitiveness in key industrial sectors. The textiles and clothing sector is one of the biggest industries in the South Asian region and each country in the region has comparative advantages in different stages in the supply chain of the production of clothing for the international market. The Stakeholder Consultation was in support of a study that attempts to identify potential supply chains which can be formed in the region whereby production in some sectors can be fragmented across different countries in the region, with each country producing that part of the value-chain in which it is most efficient.

For production fragmentation in supply chains to successfully develop, there is a need to identify the potential constraints that may be faced by different producers/exporters in different countries in the region. In this context, wide-ranged industry consultations with stakeholders from different countries within the region become necessary. The objective of the industry consultation held in Colombo was to obtain the Sri Lankan industry perspectives on the following issues:

•    Whether the potential supply chains identified by the study are possible to form, given the quality variance, delivery delays, etc., that may exists but not captured by the economic analysis.

•    Identify the possible constraints that may emerge in fostering such supply chains, mainly the non-tariff barriers and other supply side constraints at the domestic level.

•    Increase awareness of possible investment opportunities in the region

Several representatives from the textile and clothing trade sector in Sri Lanka were present at the consultation along with representatives from the Board of Investment, Export Development Board and academia. The discussions were intensive and fruitful, with several important issues being brought to the table including the importance of non-price factors in sourcing from South Asia (quality, reliability of delivery, etc.), the role of intra-regional investment in supporting production fragmentation and the necessity to include the support services in the value chain without limiting the analysis to merchandise trade.